Debacle. Embarrassment. Trade everyone. Start Schneider. Those will be the tamest of the things you will here on sports radio and in the print media after tonight’s 5-0 home ice loss. I would like to add three of my own.
Shame on you.
Shame on your you corporate seats, and the upper decks. You made me think of this today folks.
I am not saying the Canucks are the Summit 72 team, merely making a point. They were with but 1 victory in 4 games, and look how it turned out. Maybe Kesler or someone else will stand up and be our Esposito. Maybe not. The thing is, the fans had a chance to help their team during a rough opening period dictated by circumstance, bad luck and lucky bounces.
Instead, they turned on them.
The Hawks came out with Campbell taking a pretty dumb penalty, that maybe Daniel Sedin sold a little. No more than has been sold both ways, no where near Kane’s hilarious one on Hamhuis in the last game. Nevertheless, Campbell did give him a good crosscheck and it was an easy call.
The Canucks had a big early chance, but seems a little nervous and with the puck not bouncing for them instead of against. Burrows had a couple good chances on the 2nd unit, but Crawford made a couple good early saves.
Then, of course, because they gave the Canucks an early power play, and this is what passes for good refereeing in the NHL, an interference call on Tanner Glass that had all the look of very, very incidental contact on Kane. The kill started off pretty good, with some strong work by Kesler. But with less than 30 seconds left, Hossa gathered the puck at his line, and, with checkers seemingly backing in all the way, allowed to go right down Main St and take a shot. It probably went off Edler’s stick who should have stepped up on his long before, and it fooled Luongo under his glove.
It was the next goal that was the killer. Kesler won a faceoff with Bolland, hit Hjalmersson, and still his compatriots and he could not get the puck out. Brouwer got a shot, Johnson made a nice play protecting the puck, and Keith stepped into the pass and unloaded it. And again, Salo and Samuelsson on this occasion ( and they had a lot of help, not picking on no one ) stood around ten feet away from Brouwer, allowing him to set a perfect screen. A nice shot, but defensively, another mistake. 2-0, with two quick goals. Luongo would have liked at least one of them, but its not really like you could blame him for either one.
AV took his time out to try and calm his team down. The crowd was shocked, and already you could hear the doubt in them, and restlessness. Instead of getting up and trying to get their team going, the pressure was pressed down upon them, and every bounce of a puck off a stick was met with more murmers and “come ons!!”
I get it, by the way. You paid big money for your seat. Say and do whatever you want. You are certainly allowed to boo. I have booed myself before. I get it. When you booed a possibly weak call on Daniel Sedin, and an equally suspect one on Frolik for interference on Burrows gave you a chance to hope, it all seemed a little false. We soon had the overlapping, referees getting involved type game that takes all flow out of the game. It was tough for them to get themselves going. Its not all on the fans, the team did little to help.
Both teams had chances with their special teams, with Samuelsson getting a couple shots on Crawford the young man again handled. A strong break in on a once again backing in defensive pair, this time Edler and Ehrhoff, resulted in a holding call on Edler.
It would be on the following power play, of course, that the fan’s night would get worse. AKeith point shot looked to just tip the top of Burrows shinpad, and then a tip on the way by Kane.
Again, it tipped twice. What’s a goalie to do. He was getting those bounces in the first three wins, but not on this night. Rookie Cody Hodgson and his linemates Hansen and Raymond came out with a strong shift afterwards ( they were the best line on the night ), and when Bieksa threw a couple big hits down low, it looked like momentum could be turned. Luongo did his best and stoned Sharp on the breakaway given up by Bieksa being too low.
Campbell stepped up and laid a big hit on Daniel Sedin the Swede bounced right back from, and the push back looked to be there. The defenders, ( and usually, without the forward’s help coming back, its not all on the blueliners ) kept backing off, forcing another huge save on Toews.
The second period started better for the Canucks, but once again bounces, coupled with good play by the Hawks, made it a fait accompli. This time it was a nice pass to Hossa from Sharp, a good block by Bickell, and more suspect striped shirt play ( not much contact on the goalie for a pending interference call) that spelled the end of Luongo’s night.
This is where I had a big problem. You folks have all watched a lot of hockey. It was not Luongo’s fault. It was the entire team once again. Yet you all jeer and boo one of the bigger reasons why you were able to be so smug before.
And by the way. Which team still leads this series? Which team has been as good on the road as on the home ice all season? Which goaltender was more important to winning the Jennings Trophy, for crying out loud? The one with 22 starts or the one with 60?
I’m not going to embed the last goal, because it was the 5-0 goal and who cares, but Keith finished off a big night on a shot Schneider never really moved on, but once again the defense backed in, the defender let the traffic right to the net, and the goalie was not really too much at fault.
What followed the rest of the way? Well, the home team showed some spine and pressed more than the other two periods. The Canucks actually outhit ( but did not hit smart all the time, nice plays were made by the Hawks when they took a hit to make a play on occasion ) the Hawks 40 to 14. They outshot them 15 to 6 in the final frame ( but not enough traffic all night ).
There was plenty of nastiness, and more suspect zebra work ( how the Hawks get away with Brouwer slashing Edler when the arm goes up, and then tries to sucker Bieksa…who made sure he could defend himself, but it was a cheap attempt Troy, shame on you ) after an earlier Edler hit that on Smith, a clean one. The referees once again penalized the wrong thing. But by this time the game was in hand.
A late power play, a non call when Hodgson ( again, the best Canucks, that is both good and bad ) was tripped on it, and some good work by Crawford earned the goalie a fairly easy shutout.
But to me the embarrassment was as much off the ice as on it. Shame on you Canuck fans in attendance tonight. Yes, it was disappointing, but instead of helping, you did as much to help the opponent as anything else.
The Canucks will leave tomorrow afternoon, and we all know how often road teams band together and do the “win it for ourselves” thing. But after seeing the Hawk fans treat the management like they did, and be just as nervous early in Game 4, all I heard was how the hometown Canadian fans would be more supportive.
Sadly, that was not to be.